The NHL and NHLPA released a joint statement this evening outlining the changes recommended by the Competition Committee, which wrapped meetings today. The players’ side, led by NHLPA Special Assistant Mathieu Schneider, included Ron Hainsey, Connor Hellebuyck, Connor McDavid, John Tavares, and James van Riemsdyk. The league side, led by NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Opertations Colin Campbell, included Craig Leipold, David Poile, Ken Holland, Doug Wilson, and Steve Yzerman. Together, the group came up with some intriguing ideas for consideration.
The most notable suggestion, as well as the most expected one, was expanded access to video review and coach’s challenges. Few details were disclosed as to the specifics of expanded review, other than allowing referees to use video review to review calls on the ice. However, after a postseason in which incorrect calls has drawn so much media scrutiny, it’s fair to assume that changes are coming to review procedures to help remedy that situation.
Another suggested rule change bound to draw some attention is a change to the the tie-breaking procedures used to determine final regular season rankings. While the joint release did not outline the proposed changes, Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman believes that the preference of the Competition Committee is to use simply regulation wins rather than “ROT”, regulation and overtime wins, as the primary tie-breaker. If adopted, this rule change could very well see more teams looking to end games in regular time as opposed to playing for overtime, especially late in the season in a tight playoff race.
Other suggestions included changes to face-off locations based on icing, pucks out of bounds, power plays, intentionally knocking the net over, and goalies unnecessarily freezing the puck, as well as a rule that would require players to leave the ice if their helmet is knocked off during play.
These rules suggestions still need to be approved by both the NHL’s Board of Governors and the NHLPA’s Executive Board, and many of the proposed changes will require more detailed presentations, as well as considerable discussion. After suggestions are adopted, the language will be formalized and they will officially be indoctrinated into the NHL rule book. Stay tuned for further updates on these possible rule changes when these governing bodies meet later this summer.